June 4, 2021 Comments Off on Focus on ISSTD History -An Interview with Alison Miller
Focus on ISSTD History
An Interview with Alison Miller
….These first DID clients were all members of the local Satanic cult.
KATE: I guess some mental health professionals, hearing stories of extreme abuse, may be tempted to think it is all made up or delusional, but you didn’t get a chance to disbelieve, as your situation was a little unique. ALISON: Yes. I had these four clients, all abused by the same cult. They unknowingly corroborated each other – they had information about events and abuse… and it was still going on, these were current events … I was followed by these abusers…. I had all kinds of corroboration and evidence. I tried to work with the police, but it didn’t work out the way it should have.
….At that point ISSTD was talking about ritual abuse. There were professional presentations on the topic.KATE: What was that like? What did it feel like to be at a conference where other people were treating the same issues you had encountered in therapy? ALISON: It was really exciting … I figured finally there are other people dealing with this. I can learn from them. People talked in the corridors… KATE: And then something happened for the field. Not so long after that the FMS started and people began talking about ritual abuse, even DID itself, was something that crazy therapists made up.
ALISON: Yes, it was very strange. Two years later everything changed. There were no presentations on organized abuse. Bennet Braun had been sued and Judith Peterson, who I had done training with, had criminal charges brought against her. Everyone was frightened about this. What we were being taught at ISSTD now was don’t talk about these things and don’t ever suggest anything to your client. Well, I already knew that you never do suggestive therapy! I had already been taught that. That was just basic! But this went beyond that. It was about shutting it down, and ‘you don’t know if you can believe a client and you need to make it clear to them that you are not taking sides’. It just felt like everything was being discredited and you couldn’t talk about it. But my clients were making really good progress, even those still being harassed, they were still making great progress. And what I was hearing at ISSTD was you know … back track, be careful, cover your arse. That’s what it was all about, but they didn’t use those words. Yet when someone has been through an horrendous experience they need to know that you care. They need you to care about what they have experienced, even if their memories are not 100% accurate, because memories are never 100% accurate. They don’t need you to sit behind your desk and act like these memories don’t matter and they’ve made it all up.
KATE: We have launched ourselves straight into the present as that debate around trauma and memory is one which is still alive today. I note that JTD is having a special edition on the issue of false memories. We still write on it and talk about it. Frontiers had a series of articles which you contributed to, where we talked about this issue. And it’s a very, very complex issue as we talk about to what extent we remain therapeutically neutral. I guess the core of the issue is that people feel differently about what therapeutic neutrality means and about believing or disbelieving memories. It is still a hot debate today.
ALISON: Yes, it is, and I did contribute it to it most recently. I think the debate reduced for a while when the FMS people managed to shut us down, but it has re-awakened. It’s all still there. Essentially, it is the survivor who needs to figure out what is real and not real in their memories. It is not my job. It was my job to listen to the client, to be compassionate, and to help them open up and talk about what’s important for them to talk about. And that is all. I think as long as I remember the limits to my job, then that’s okay. It was not my job to sit there and say ‘this is all true’ and then suggest more. But (equally) it was not my job to sit back and say, ‘I neither believe you or disbelieve you… and I think your attachment to your father is more important than what you are saying your father did.’ Or some such thing….
KATE: Yes, indeed. One of the other things I did want to talk to about is your books. I think pretty much all of us working in organized abuse have them on our bookshelves. There are so few books written in the field and you have been a pioneer, writing to my knowledge, some of the very few books in the field.
ALISON: I think they are still the only books devoted to this issue in such detail. And I published Healing the Unimaginable in 2012. There are a few good articles and the British put out some great compilations, but I think my books are still the only books that talk about what it is in the mind of the victim, how the abuse works, how the abusers set up the personality systems….
ALISON: I think it’s really important that therapists understand that this is organized crime. It is psychologically sophisticated organized crime. There is a set up that as soon as the survivor begins to disclose, there will be parts inside that go and tell the group that they have made disclosures. Perpetrator groups will be prepared to shut people down and we have to learn how to handle that. We need to understand the clinical issues, as well as how these groups work… back in the 1930’s people had to learn how the mafia worked before they could deal with it. The same with this situation….
I was thinking about what you said about needing to learn about these groups. One thing that seems helpful for our field is that we are beginning to learn more about organized abuse in general. There is research into the production of child sex abuse materials, into trafficking of children and young people across borders and between groups. We’ve had various enquiries into organizational abuse, including the Australian Royal Commission. Through this enquiry, for the first time the average Australian person realised that that big organized and semi organized groups can abuse children for many decades, cover it up, get away with it, pass children from perpetrator to perpetrator, and protect perpetrators. We saw that uncovered here and I am sure other countries have seen this too. I think that all these things have given validity to our field.
ALISON: Yes, very much so. And the fact that these groups actually put stuff on the internet and then get caught, you can see it is happening, and now, on some occasions, police have actually rescued children. KATE: And those who think that children must have been making it up, that these atrocities could not happen, because humans could not do that to each other, must now face the fact that police officers are literally looking at online material and studying it as evidence. The police know these things did happen to children as they see photos and videos of it.
ALISON: I think the production of materials is an important issue. Pretty much all my clients have been involved with that. There was a studio in Toronto (3000 miles away) which three of my clients had been involved with, one of them as a photographer … and this was a long time before all these things came out in the media, in the public. It is a horrible thing, but it is good that it is being discovered and the world is becoming aware that it does exist….
February 11, 2021 Comments Off on Michael Salter – Organized Abuse
Organised abuse has been reported by child victims, adult survivors and a range of professionals for over thirty years. However, organised abuse remains poorly understood.
This website has been developed by criminologist Scientia Associate Professor Michael Salter who specialises in the study of organised abuse and complex trauma. The aim of the website is to disseminate reliable information about organised abuse to professionals, victims and survivors.
Scientia Associate Professor Michael Salter
I am the Scientia Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of New South Wales, Australia. I specialise in the study of organised sexual abuse. In addition to my work on complex trauma, I have researched and published widely on violence against women and children.
I sit on the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. I am an Associate Editor of Child Abuse Review, the peer-reviewed journal of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and I sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation.
I act as a consultant and trainer to a range of non-government organisations and government departments at the state and national level. I am an expert advisor to the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Salter, M. and Hanson, E. (2021) “I need you all to understand how pervasive this issue is”: User efforts to regulate child sexual offending on social media. In Baily, J., Flynn, A. and Henry, N. The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-facilitated Violence and Abuse. Emerald Publishing.
Salter, M. (2018) Child sexual abuse, in Rennison, C.M., Dekeseredy, W. S., Hall-Sanchez, A. (Eds), Routledge International Handbook of Violence Studies, London and New York: Routledge
Salter, M. (2018) Finding a new narrative: Meaningful responses to ‘false memory’ disinformation, in Sinason, V. Memory in Dispute, Karnac: London.
Salter, M. (2018) Child sexual abuse. In Dekeseredy, W. and Dragiewicz, M. (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology, Routledge: London and New York.
Salter, M. (2016) Organised child sexual abuse in the media. In Pontel, H. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Oxford University Press: Oxford and London.
Salter, M. (2008) Out of the shadows: Re-envisioning the debate on ritual abuse. In: Perskin. P. and Noblitt. R. (eds) Ritual abuse in the twenty-first century: Psychological, forensic, social and political considerations. Robert D. Reed: Brandon, OR.
Organised abuse and the politics of disbelief
Out of the shadows: Re-envisioning the debate on ritual abuse
2008 Michael Salter
Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Organised Abuse: Examining our History and Looking Forward
Michael Salter, PhD
I was a teenager when ritual abuse was first reported in Australia. A series of newspaper articles in the mid-1990s claimed that women were entering psychotherapy only to ‘recover’ memories of grotesque and improbable abuse.
The general thrust of coverage was that the movement against child abuse had gone too far, and that therapists and social workers were encouraging, and sometimes forcing, children and women to imagine abuse that had never happened. I was entirely unprepared when, only a few years after the publication of those articles, a friend began disclosing ritual abuse in the context of a paedophile ring. These disclosures occurred without facilitation or encouragement by a mental health professional, and they did not conform to mass media warnings about ‘false’ and ‘recovered’ memories. She had never ‘forgotten’ her abuse and she was reporting attacks in the present that left behind undeniable marks and injuries. Her disclosures set me on the path to a career as a criminologist specializing in the study of organized child sexual abuse. I now chair the Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Organised Abuse Special Interest Group (RAMCOA) which is full of people just like me: people who unexpectedly encountered survivors of extreme abuse and have sought to understand and address their particular needs. The SIG includes an important cohort of therapists who are also survivors, driven by personal experience and professional commitment to provide care for others who share their history. Over the last few years, there’ve been moves afoot within the ISSTD to revisit and come to grips with the fractious legacies of the ‘memory wars’, including controversies over ritual abuse and mind control. I listened with great interest at the national ISSTD conference in Chicago this year as a number of ‘veterans’ of those wars shared their reflections on that time.
Michael Salter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminology and Scientia Fellow at the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales
Dr. Michael Salter is an Associate Professor of Criminology and Scientia Fellow at the School of Social Sciences at UNSW. Michael applies critical and feminist theory to the study of child sexual exploitation, gendered violence and complex trauma. He is leading two national studies: one on multi-sectorial constructions on complex trauma, and the second on the role of parents in the production of child exploitation material. Other current research projects include an analysis of perpetrator interventions in gendered violence and the role of technology in domestic violence. Michael sits on the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, and he is Associate Editor of Child Abuse Review.
Dr. Salter’s recent publications include:
Salter, M. (2020). Improved accountability: The role of perpetrator intervention systems.
Salter, M. (2020). “A deep wound under my heart”: Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence.
Salter, M., Robinson, K., Ullman, J., Denson, N., Ovenden, G., Noonan, K., & Bansel, P. (2019). Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Men’s Attitudes and Understandings of Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. DOI: 10.1177/0886260519898433.
McPhillips, K., Salter, M., Roberts-Pedersen, E., & Kezelman, C. (2019). Understanding trauma as a system of psycho-social harm: Contributions from the Australian royal commission into child sex abuse. Child abuse & neglect, 99. DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104232.
Salter, M. (2019). The transitional space of public inquiries: The case of the Royal Commission into Institutional Forms of Child Sexual Abuse. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. DOI: 10.1177/0004865819886634.
Salter, M. (2019). Online Justice in the Circuit of Capital: #MeToo, Marketization and the Deformation of Sexual Ethics. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-15213-0_20.
Dragiewicz, M., Harris, B., Woodlock, D., & Salter, M. (2019). Domestic violence and communication technology: Survivor experiences of intrusion, surveillance, and identity crime.
UNSW Sydney | UNSW · School of Social Sciences
My research is focused on violence against women, child abuse, primary prevention and complex forms of victimisation, including organised abuse and technologically-facilitated abuse.
Organised Sexual Abuse
By Michael Salter
Copyright Year 2013 1st Edition
Organised Sexual Abuse offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary investigation of this phenomenon. Since the early 1980s, social workers and mental health professionals around the globe have encountered clients reporting sexual abuse by organized groups or networks. These allegations have been amongst the most controversial in debates over child sexual abuse, raising many unanswered questions. Are reports of organized abuse factual or the product of moral panic and false memories? If these reports are true, what is the appropriate response? The fields of child protection and psychotherapy have been polarised over the issue. And, although cases of organized abuse continue to be uncovered, a reasoned and evidence-based analysis of the subject is long overdue.
Examining the existing evidence, and supplementing it with further qualitative research, in this book Michael Salter addresses: the relationship between sexual abuse and organized abuse; questions over the veracity of testimony; the gap between the policing response to sexual abuse and the realities of child sexual exploitation; the contexts in which sexually abusive groups develop and operate; the role of religion and ritual in subcultures of multi-perpetrator sexual abuse; as well as the experience of adults and children with histories of organized abuse in the criminal justice system and health system. Organized Sexual Abuse thus provides a definitive analysis that will be of immense value to those with professional and academic interests in this area.
“A deep wound under my heart”: Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence May 2020 Michael Salter
Responses to women who have experienced complex trauma need to be sensitive, coordinated and consistent between services and agencies to ensure women’s wellbeing and safety from violence. However, the development of shared frameworks of practice for addressing complex trauma has been forestalled by a lack of professional consensus and understanding…
Organized Sexual Abuse. Dr. Michael Salter
Today on the podcast, Michael Salter.
Michael is an Associate Professor in Criminology at Western Sydney University, Australia and specializes in the study of organized sexual abuse.
In addition to his work on complex trauma, Michael Salter has researched and published widely on violence against women and children.
Michael sits on the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and is an associate editor of Child Abuse Review, the peer-reviewed journal of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
Organized abuse in adulthood: Survivor and professional perspectives
In book: The Abused and the Abuser (pp.199-211)
Authors: Michael Salter UNSW Sydney
Malignant trauma and the invisibility of ritual abuse
June 2019 DOI: 10.33212/att.v13n1.2019.16
Authors: Michael Salter UNSW Sydney
This article draws on psychoanalytic theories of malignant trauma to explain the invisibility of ritual abuse. Ritual abuse refers to the misuse of rituals in the organised sexual abuse of children. Despite expanded recognition of the varieties of child maltreatment, ritual abuse remains largely invisible outside the trauma and dissociation field as a specific form of sexual exploitation. Presenting qualitative data from interview research with ritual abuse survivors and mental health specialists, this article argues that the trauma of ritual abuse and its invisibility are co-constitutive. The perpetration and denial of ritual abuse occur within a relational matrix of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders structured by the presymbolic dread of vulnerability and dependency. The simultaneity of perpetration and disavowal creates the conditions for the malignancy of ritual abuse, including the invisibility of victims and the intergenerational transmission of extreme abuse. The article examines how the provision of care to ritual abuse survivors can become contingent on its erasure, and reflects on the role of therapists and others in interrupting the metastases of malignant trauma and crafting cultural and moral frameworks to transform the dread at the core of ritual abuse.
Cultures of Abuse: ‘Sex Grooming’, Organised Abuse and Race in Rochdale, UK
June 2015 International Journal for Crime Justice and Social Democracy 4(2)
Authors: Michael Salter UNSW Sydney Selda Dagistanli Western Sydney University
Revelations of organised abuse by men of Asian heritage in the United Kingdom have become a recurrent feature of international media coverage of sexual abuse in recent years. This paper reflects on the similarities between the highly publicised ‘sex grooming’ prosecutions in Rochdale in 2012 and the allegations of organised abuse in Rochdale that emerged in 1990, when twenty children were taken into care after describing sadistic abuse by their parents and others. While these two cases differ in important aspects, this paper highlights the prominence of colonial ideologies of civilisation and barbarism in the investigation and media coverage of the two cases and the sublimation of the issue of child welfare. There are important cultural and normative antecedents to sexual violence but these have been misrepresented in debates over organised abuse as racial issues and attributed to ethnic minority communities. In contrast, the colonialist trope promulgating the fictional figure of the rational European has resulted in the denial of the cultural and normative dimensions of organised abuse in ethnic majority communities by attributing sexual violence to aberrant and sexually deviant individuals whose behaviours transgress the boundaries of accepted cultural norms. This paper emphasises how the implicit or explicit focus on race has served to obscure the power dynamics underlying both cases and the continuity of vulnerability that places children at risk of sexual and organised abuse.
Reducing Shame, Promoting Dignity: A Model for the Primary Prevention of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Recommended citation: Salter, M. & Hall, H. (2021) Reducing Shame, Promoting Dignity: A Model for the Primary Prevention of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Trauma Violence Abuse, forthcoming.
The recent inclusion of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) into the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 11th revision is the culmination of over twenty five years of research and clinical practice. Since the early 1990s, it has been proposed that a complex variant of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be differentiated from classical PTSD by alterations in affect and behavioral regulation, interpersonal problems, dissociative symptoms, and somatizations (Herman, 1992). As clinical scholarship and research into CPTSD has developed, it has been linked to concepts of developmental and attachment trauma, recognizing the aetiological role of early onset abuse and neglect, and associated disruptions in the child-caregiver bond (Farina, Liotti, & Imperatori, 2019). Parallel scholarship into adverse childhood experiences links child-onset trauma to major social and public health challenges, including common mental and physical illnesses, entrenched poverty and criminality (Lambert, Meza, Martin, Fearey, & McLaughlin, 2017). In light of the evidence of the public health burden of CPSTD, Ford (2015) argues for population-level interventions to reduce the prevalence of CPTSD, otherwise “vulnerable individuals and entire populations are at risk for becoming trapped in intergenerational vicious cycles escalating danger, disadvantage, and dysregulation” (p 3).
Speaking out about child sexual abuse within the family
As France continues to grapple with how a top academic who allegedly sexually abused his stepson for years was able to act with impunity, we speak to Michael Salter, Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He says coercive sexual relationships with children were “the dark side of the sexual revolution” and that it’s vital to understand that sexual abuse of minors happens across all sectors of society. “Child sexual abuse is a public health crisis,” he tells us.
“Recovered memory therapy” does not refer to an actual therapy. It’s a pejorative term invented by “false memory” advocate Richard Ofshe in 1993. Nobody has ever trained in or practiced RMT because it doesn’t exist, except in the fevered imaginations of false memory advocates.
5.5 Million Children Victims of Sex Trafficking in the World Today, Lebanon Sex Trafficking of Young Syrian Women
April 14, 2016 Comments Off on 5.5 Million Children Victims of Sex Trafficking in the World Today, Lebanon Sex Trafficking of Young Syrian Women
‘Sold’ takes a look at the sex trafficking business
By G. Allen Johnson Wednesday, April 13, 2016
There are 5.5 million children — yes, children — who are victims of sex trafficking in the world today. Bay Area filmmaker Jeffrey D. Brown calls attention to the problem in “Sold,” a drama about a 13-year-old Indian girl forced into prostitution, and the American do-gooders (Gillian Anderson, David Arquette) who try and save her.
Filmed in India in 2013 (it debuted at Cinequest in San Jose in 2014, but is only now getting a release), the English-language movie benefits from an appealing central performance by young Niyar Saikia, whose character Lakshmi endures beatings, forced rape and other hardships. Brown, who co-wrote the script based on Patricia McCormick’s 2006 novel, is able to convey the miserable existence and horrible lives of sex trafficking victims without resorting to torture porn. The film does not have a rating, but it seems rather PG-13-ish (there is no nudity and merely the suggestion of sex).
Lakshmi is from a remote village in Nepal, but her family, desperate for money, sells her temporary services for what they think is work as a maid in the big city of Kolkata (once called Calcutta). Instead, her temp agency turns out to be a pimp agency, and she is forced into prostitution….
Lebanon Shocked Over Sex Trafficking of Young Syrian Women
By Bassem Mroue, Associated Press
BEIRUT Apr 13, 2016
Back in Syria, the young women were told they would get well-paid jobs at restaurants and hotels in Lebanon. But when they arrived, their belongings and mobile phones were taken away, and the women were locked up in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution.
What followed was an ordeal of beatings, torture and abuse until Lebanese security forces raided the hotels and dismantled the operation in late March.
The discovery of the sex trafficking ring and the rescue of the women deeply shocked tiny Lebanon, a Mediterranean Arab nation already overwhelmed by the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees who have fled the civil war, and prompted calls for investigation.
The case, which involves 75 female victims, is considered the worst sex trafficking scandal in Lebanon in decades and has raised questions about who might have shielded and enabled such a vast network….
The Syrian women were brought to Lebanon in stages over the past several months. Those who refused to work as prostitutes were repeatedly raped and tortured until they submitted, according to Lebanese women’s rights activists….
Lebanese security officials, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, estimate the gang was making more than a $1 million a month from the prostitution ring….
Child Abuse and Organized Abuse Research
Disturbing e-mails could spell more trouble for Penn State officials, Father of WM3 murder victim certain who killed 3 boys, Groomed – Laurie Matthew’s book about abuse, neglect and organized abuse
July 1, 2012 Comments Off on Disturbing e-mails could spell more trouble for Penn State officials, Father of WM3 murder victim certain who killed 3 boys, Groomed – Laurie Matthew’s book about abuse, neglect and organized abuse
– Disturbing e-mails could spell more trouble for Penn State officials
– Father of WM3 murder victim certain who killed 3 boys – Todd Moore
– Groomed – Laurie Matthew’s book about abuse, neglect and organized abuse
Disturbing e-mails could spell more trouble for Penn State officials By Susan Candiotti, CNN Sat June 30, 2012
(CNN) — With convicted serial child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky behind bars, new questions are surfacing about what Penn State officials knew about a 2001 incident involving the former assistant football coach’s encounter with a boy in the shower — and whether they covered up the incident.
After the 2001 incident, Sandusky sexually abused other boys over the course of years until his arrest.
CNN does not have the purported e-mails. However, the alleged contents were made available to CNN.
The messages indicate former Penn State President Graham Spanier and two other former university officials knew they had a problem with Sandusky after a 2001 shower incident, but apparently first decided to handle it using a “humane” approach before contacting outside authorities whose job it is to investigate suspected abuse.
“This is a more humane and upfront way to handle this,’ wrote Gary Schultz, then vice president at the university.
Records show no authorities were ever contacted and Sandusky was eventually charged with having sexual contact with four more boys after the 2001 incident. On June 22, Sandusky was convicted of abusing 10 boys over 15 years.
Painful chapter closes with Sandusky’s conviction for child sex abuse
In an exchange of messages from February 26-28, 2001, Spanier allegedly acknowledges Penn State could be “vulnerable” for not reporting the incident, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.
“The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it,” Spanier purportedly writes.
The alleged e-mails among Spanier, Schultz, 62, and former Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, never mention Sandusky by name, instead referring to him as “the subject” and “the person.” Children that Sandusky brought on campus –some of whom might have been victims — are referred to as “guests.”….
Curley refers to a meeting scheduled that day with Spanier and indicates they apparently discussed the Sandusky incident two days earlier.
Curley indicates he no longer wants to contact child welfare authorities just yet. He refers to a conversation the day before with Paterno. It’s not known what Paterno may have said to Curley.
Curley writes: “After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps.”
The athletic director apparently preferred to keep the situation an internal affair and talk things over with Sandusky instead of notifying the state’s child welfare agency to investigate Sandusky’s suspicious activity.
“I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved,” Curley allegedly continues…. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/30/justice/penn-state-emails/index.html
Todd Moore wrote the below article in response to an editorial published in the Jonesboro Sun by Chris Wessel.
Father of WM3 murder victim certain who killed 3 boys
By Todd Moore
I am the father of West Memphis triple murder victim Michael Moore. I am writing this in response to your editorial in the June 6 edition of The Sun titled “Justice Unserved.” It has always been my opinion that justice was served when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were convicted in 1994 for the brutal murder of my son and his friends.
The three men who slaughtered my son were convicted by two juries that found them guilty in 1994. Despite this, the Arkansas Supreme Court generously granted the murderers the opportunity for a new evidentiary hearing to be held Dec, 5, 2011, to show evidence they claimed proved their innocence. They could have been granted a new trial to prove these claims of innocence. Instead of presenting their “new evidence” in open court last December, they opted to plead guilty to the murders in August 2011 in exchange for time served….
Absence of DNA evidence does not prove the West Memphis Three (WM3) are innocent. The killers washed most of the evidence away in the water- filled ditch where they drowned my son. There was plenty of other evidence to convict them in 1994 without positive DNA. Most murderers are convicted without DNA evidence….
The WM3 defense team has been well-funded by numerous celebrities who were misinformed by the biased “Paradise Lost” documentaries. These one-sided films left out nearly all of the evidence that demonstrated the guilt of the WM3. They caused thousands of people to support the release of the convicted child killers with a very limited understanding of the actual facts of the case….
Here are just a few examples of what was omitted from the documentaries:
• Jessie Misskelley confessed to the crime at least five times to police, prosecutors, even his own attorneys with his hand on a Bible. Misskelley confessed the first time after less than four hours of police questioning. That questioning was done with permission from his father. He continued to repeatedly confess in the year that followed.
• Damien Echols amassed a mental health record 500 pages long in the years immediately prior to the murders. In his own handwriting, he classified himself as a “homicidal, suicidal, schizophrenic, sociopath” just a months before he brutally murdered my son.
• Read Damien Echols’ current Twitter account to discover his deep-seated interest in skulls and the occult. There he also recently described artwork depicting a man sawing off his own arm as “breathtaking.” In addition, Echols is obscenely profiting off the death of my son by selling his … books, promoting his …movie, and tattooing …groupies with his “mark.” For two hundred dollars, you can have….tattoo an “X” on your arm. These Twitter posts and money-making schemes are a slap in the face to me, my family and my dead son.
• The movies omit the fact that these three men had no alibis. Damien Echols’ and Jessie Misskelley’s alibis completely fell apart on the stand in the 1994 trials. Jason Baldwin’s attorneys didn’t even bother to present an alibi.
• Fibers consistent with a robe in Jason Baldwin’s home and a shirt in Damien Echols’ home were found on the victims. Blue candle wax found on Chris Byers’ shirt was consistent with candle wax found in Damien Echols bedroom.
• The crime lab found that three different knots were used to hogtie the three victims with their own shoelaces. This points toward multiple killers rather than one killer. Witnesses say that Mr. Bojangles, the disoriented man near the crime scene that night, had a cast on one arm. No one person could have subdued and hogtied three energetic young boys–not Terry Hobbs and certainly not the one-armed Mr. Bojangles….
• A car full of eyewitnesses placed Echols near the crime scene, covered with dirt, on the night of the murders.
• Numerous friends, acquaintances and cell-mates came forward with tales of confessions from all three defendants.
Throw out one or even several of those facts, and there would still be enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
I sat through those trials. The basic facts need to be put out there. Otherwise, it makes a mockery of my son’s short life.
Todd Moore is the father of murder victim Michael Moore.
Published in the Opinion Section of the Jonesboro Sun on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 http://www.terryhobbs.com/2012/06/todd-moore-sets-record-straight.html
An uncle who went too far. A mother who didn’t care. A little girl who waited for justice. By Laurie Matthew Simon & Schuster UK, June 2012 256 pages
In this powerful and honest memoir, Laurie Matthew takes the reader with her as she revisits her childhood in 1950s and 1960s Dundee. Raised in a home which consisted of an emotionally neglectful and physically violent mother, a distant father, a chronically sick brother and a sister she needed to protect, the only ray of light in little Laurie’s life came from the man who would return home from the Army with pockets full of sweets and bags of toys. Uncle Andrew would shower her with attention and love, capture the hearts of everyone around him – and carefully groom her for years of abuse by not only himself, but also by a network of paedophiles. Laurie tells a harrowing story of isolation, as her abusers went to extraordinary lengths to carry out their sick acts, wearing masks to confuse and torment her and keeping her away from other children. But these evil men had no idea that the girl they systematically violated would turn into one of the country’s leading child protection experts, and that their legacy would give her the impetus to change the lives of so many innocent victims.
ISBN-10: 0857208284 http://books.simonandschuster.co.uk/Groomed/Laurie-Matthew/9780857208286
Laurie was born in 1953. She is the award-winning founder of several support organisations for people affected by sexual violence and/or abuse. She is currently based in her home city of Dundee where she is the campaigning organiser and founder of the ‘Eighteen and Under’ charity organisation, which helps young people who have experienced any kind of abuse. Her work is internationally commended and she has been recognised many times for her achievements. Some of the many awards given have included Dundee Citizen of the Year, 1997, International Women’s Safety Award, 2004, and Charity Awards 2010 winner of Research, Advice and Support category. She has also written a number of books about child protection. http://authors.simonandschuster.co.uk/Laurie-Matthew/400136648/biography